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Dec 12, 2012

Herbert eyes changes for Adelaide match

Last week's underwhelming performance against Sydney FC is still preying heavily on Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert's mind as he prepares to make changes for Sunday's A-League clash with high-flying Adelaide United.

"There was a 90-minute period when 11 players were flat," Herbert said of the 2-1 home loss to last-placed Sydney.

"It wasn't a good performance, and we've got to stare that one pretty firmly in the face, drive on and look for improvements this week."

There'll need to be plenty. Adelaide sit second on the ladder with 22 points and have only been beaten twice this season.

The Phoenix have three wins and sit sixth on 12 points, with four other teams in a log-jam behind them only two points astray.

Adelaide and Wellington last met in a fiery fourth-round clash at Hindmarsh Stadium which resulted in seven yellow cards, Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund's send-off and a controversial 3-1 win to the Reds amid accusations that Argentine striker Jeronimo Neumann dived.

Herbert promised a shake-up to his starting line-up after the Sydney loss, and looks set to follow through.

"I think there'll be a couple of changes and I think that's pretty fair across the board," he said.

"We'll make a little bit of a stance on this and I think we'll see a pretty good reaction."

One change Herbert won't want to make is up front, where some doubt surrounded the fitness of in-form striker Jeremy Brockie.

Herbert was optimistic Brockie's hamstring twinge, which stopped him from training on Thursday, would clear.

But he said the Phoenix have plenty of options in Louis Fenton, Benji Totori and Tyler Boyd should Brockie be unavailable.

He also admitted the return from injury of creative midfielder Dani Sanchez threw up further possibilities around structure and game plan.

"He's a different sort of player - he gives us options," Herbert said.

"He's been out for a long period and it's a tough ask over in Adelaide.

"But he's training well, and we're going to have to throw him in somewhere. I could be tempted to start him."

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